Category: publications

Pantea Karimi to exhibit at the University of Arizona & published in the UK’s Journal of Mathematics and Arts.

Three of M20’s Pantea Karimi’s Moon artworks have been selected for the Art of Planetary Science exhibition, organized by the science department at the University of Arizona. Imaging the Moon i, Imaging the Moon ii,  & The Infinite Moon i evolved out of her 2019 Mercury Twenty show COUNTDOWN: BIRUNI – GALILEO – APOLLO, which explored about  astronomy and the Moon landing. The exhibition features artwork that is created from scientific data, or incorporates scientific ideas, with the aim of providing a new perspective on the work of scientists and the universe. The yearly exhibit finds common ground between artists and scientists.

In addition, Pantea’s medieval math project An Homage to Khayyam and Pascal  was published in the UK’s Journal of Mathematics and the Arts . The publication, established in 2007,  is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that deals with relationship between mathematics and the arts.

image: Khayyam-Pascal, Installation view, The Rotch Library at MIT, 2018

Pantea’s work, which began in 2014,  explores the mathematics of medieval Iran, known as The Islamic Golden Age of Science.  She writes of her inspiration for the above image:

“This gave me an opportunity to delve into my origins and place of birth and understand the Persian culture from another perspective. It was here that I came across Pascal’s Triangle. The triangular pattern of binomial coefficients was intensely striking visually, ideal for my work. Digging deeper, I learned that the discovery of binomial coefficients is named after the seventeenth-century French mathematician, Blaise Pascal. However, it emerged that centuries before, Omar Khayyam, the twelfth-century Iranian mathematician and poet, was already studying binomial numbers. In December 2015, The Guardian published an article about a new book, Mathematics and Art: A Cultural History by historian Lynn Gamwell (2016). In her book, Gamwell clearly explains the binomial numbers’ triangle and its history. In Figure 1, each hexagon contains a number which is the sum of the numbers above it. For example, in the last row, the number 792 is the sum of the two numbers 330 + 426. This triangular pattern in Iran is known as Khayyam’s triangle after Omar Khayyam who described the same pattern earlier than Pascal.”

Artists Staying Active

Mercury 20 Gallery artists Mary Curtis Ratcliff and Elizabeth Sher have been included in the newly published Bay Area Women Artists’ Legacy Project Book.

The Bay Area Women Artists (BAWA) Legacy Project aims to both safeguard and highlight women’s contribution to Bay Area art. They believe that an understanding of the local art scene in the past 50 years requires a full examination of women’s contributions and that this possibility will be lost unless art institutions, curators, and historians join in an effort to preserve the legacy of Bay Area women artists.

The statistics are alarming. As the Guerrilla Girls and others have clearly shown, women continue to be under-represented in museum shows and collections and undervalued at art auctions. One consequence is that few women are able to afford the creation of a foundation to oversee their legacy. Institutional support is needed. BAWA has opened a dialogue on this issue. Their members have been practicing art for more than 20 years and have shown extensively. In addition, many have been active in feminist art groups since the 1970s, helping to increase the visibility of women artists throughout the Bay Area.


California Sunset, a 52 x 42 inch painting by Mercury 20 Gallery member Tara Esperanza is included in the 10th annual group show California Dreaming: Finding Beauty in My Own Backyard. The exhibition will run September 16 – December 11, 2020 at The Village Theatre Art Gallery in Danville California. The show was juried by Shelley Barry, principal at Slate Contemporary Gallery, Oakland. Initially this exhibit was planned for in-person viewing, but due to Covid 19 and the Contra Costa County health guidelines, it is now online until further notice.

Tara says…. “I am deeply drawn to succulents. I love their character. How they change throughout the seasons. The abundant varieties of texture, color, and shape. I paint large canvases of small succulents. I find interesting compositions and celebrate the beauty of the plants. I love how the succulents share space. Lean on each other, or hold each other up. Succulents bring me joy and I see them as divine in nature.


Mercury 20 Gallery member Andrea Brewster has had three sculptures accepted for the Headford Lace Project’s show in Ireland, The Space Between. The exhibition will taking place in October and will take the form of an art trail around the town with lace/artwork exhibited in various locations and curated window displays.

The history of lace is a fascinating story and one which is full of contradictions. It was and still is used to make christening gowns to welcome new born babies, but is also used to make coffin cloths and mourning veils at the end of life. Making lace was considered an appropriate pastime for ladies of high moral stature but also used to ‘reform’ women of low moral values. From a visual perspective, lace is made up of both open and solid spaces where equal importance is placed on that which does not exist, as is placed on the threads that holds it all together. Lace provided a sense of independence as women could earn a living from selling their work. However, lace is also associated with the forced labor of women living in state run institutions who worked without remuneration. Lacemaking is a traditional practice which has been embedded into the social and economic history of countries worldwide for generations. Yet lace is still used as a source of inspiration by contemporary makers who continue to innovate and progress our understanding of what lace is and what lace is considered to be. The Space Between will explore these ambiguities.

Andrea says… “I began tatting because I had seen it discussed in some old handicrafts books and I was intrigued by the process; seduced by its delicate fineness of line. I later discovered that my grandmother was an avid tatter. I began to see tatting as drawing in space with thread and knots and I questioned why tatting is, seen as a fussy, handicraft from a bygone era? Why has it, as (often) anonymous “women’s work”, become so undervalued, so unappreciated? My explorations have primarily led me to investigate three-dimensional forms in tatting. I am particularly intrigued by the underlying mathematical order found in nature, especially among corals and marine invertebrates. Although my work is improvisational, I have used these types of repeating patterns, hyperbolic geometry and logarithmic scales, as a foundation to “grow” forms out of a predictable order. I feel that tatting is experiencing something of a renaissance, brought back from the brink of extinction by the Internet, which has facilitated connection and sharing of patterns and techniques on a global scale. But, despite this renewed interest, tatting remains an under-recognized technique, and still labors under the heavy weight of its cultural reference of old ladies making useless domestic bric-a-brac. However, I feel that the time is ripe for expansion both technically and conceptually; for pushing boundaries and exploring new, uncharted territories across the entire map of tatting possibilities.

Kathleen King: Aided, Inspired, Multiplied

Mercury 20 artist/member Kathleen King presented a solo show at Oakland’s Pro Arts Gallery & Commons earlier this year and a catalog of the show was recently published. The catalog is 7 x 8.5 inches, full color, 36 pages with an introduction by Pro Arts director Natalia Ivanova Mount and interview by Leora Lutz. The catalog is available for purchase from Pro Arts at